I may have my opinion as to when is the ideal time to teach kids about money, but there are plenty of other people who may think differently. In my case, I will have to wait until my young ones have become adults to see if the lessons I have taught them have paid off.
One of the first lessons that can be taught, and I feel it is a valuable one, is patience. Kids make up their minds on a whim that they want something. As parents, we tend to give in to this too quickly. If we teach them now to wait, this will become a habit. In their adult years, they will not expect to get everything they want as soon as they want it. They will be accustomed to waiting.
One of the problems that I have noticed with many adults is they do not understand the basics of money. Something as simple as teaching a youngster to count and using coins for this practice will equate this to finances. It can begin by getting them familiar with the coin names, then getting the young ones to put them into their respective piles before proceeding to add them up.
The Meaning of No
I found this difficult to use when my youngsters asked for something, perhaps because they were pretty good at not asking for things constantly, at least not until they started school. The lesson I set out to teach here was you can’t always get everything you want. Hopefully, they will tell themselves no when they want something, and it’s just not practical or the time is not right in future years.
Chores and Payment
This is where some valuable lessons can be taught. I have to admit that I enjoyed this part of the money lessons the most. It was interesting to see how the kids would figure out things. They soon learned the lesson that money doesn’t grow on trees. When they had to work for their money and use their own money to buy things differently, they began to look at cost factors. That toy they wanted so badly now had a dollar figure to it. Was five hours of chores worth it. Hopefully, this is something that is going to stick with them throughout their entire lives.
A common question asked of children is what they want to be when they grow up. Normally, they will base this on what seems to be the most intriguing. I felt that this was the time to start introducing some gentle lessons about how money coincides with what they choose to do for a living. At the same time, I did not want all the focus of a career on how much money they can make. I believe that a person has to enjoy what they do to be really successful at it.
Like many adults (including myself), kids tend to take the comfort of home for granted. That big-screen television and the comfy couch to sit on are just part of the home. How much they cost does not enter their little minds. When they are introduced to some of the costs involved, they begin to form a new appreciation of what they are blessed with. However, this is a lesson that starts when they pay for some of the things they want. I was surprised to see how much better they looked after things that they had paid for themselves.
In the beginning, I was perhaps a little over-zealous with my money-making lessons. Money became the main topic of conversation for a while. I soon brought this back into proper perspective as I didn’t want the kids to put a price tag on everything.
My lesson teaching dates back to a few years ago. Overall I am proud to say that my kids now have healthy bank accounts that they have been major contributors to. There is no doubt that the dollar’s value will be much different once they leave the nest and are out on their own. But, I am confident they will do well. They have at least a foundation to build their financial security on.